Antitrust Lawsuit to be Filed Against Ticketmaster’s Parent Firm, Reports Say

The parent company of one of the largest event ticketing agencies in the world is soon to be facing a major antitrust lawsuit from the federal government.

Multiple media outlets reported this week that the Department of Justice is preparing a federal antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation, which is the parent company of Ticketmaster.

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the DOJ would be filing its lawsuit in the next few weeks, according to some people who are familiar with the developments.

Many people have criticized the relationship and operations of Ticketmaster and Live Nation for the dominance they have over the ticketing industry. Critics say this has allowed them to significantly increase prices on tickets for live entertainment events such as concerts, comedy shows, sporting events and more.

Ticketmaster received a lot of negative publicity in 2022 after a major meltdown during the online presale for tickets to Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour.” In that incident, thousands of fans weren’t able to purchase the presale tickets as they were promised.

In the time since, many lawmakers have questioned whether Ticketmaster, and Live Nation specifically, have been engaging in anticompetitive practices.

The DOJ approved the merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation — which is  a company that promotes concerts — back in 2010, after an investigation revolved around antitrust.

That’s one thing that Live Nation is relying on in arguments against a new antitrust lawsuit. The company also says there’s tons of competition in the ticketing industry, even as lawmakers have raised many concerns about just that.

Officials with Live Nation declined to comment about the story posted in the Wall Street Journal when media outlet The Hill reached out to them this week.

In recent months, though, the company’s executives have pushed back on claims that Live Nation and Ticketmaster are responsible for the soaring prices of live entertainment tickets.

In a blog post written earlier this year, Dan Wall, the head of corporate affairs for Live Nation, wrote that artists and their teams are the ones who are responsible for setting ticket prices. The venues where the events are held also determine what additional service charges are added to the final cost of the ticket.

As he wrote in that post:

“Fans are also told that service charges are Ticketmaster’s way of raising ticket prices. In fact, Ticketmaster does not set service charges, venues do, and most of the money goes to the venues.”

In addition, Wall attributed the high ticket prices to simple supply-and-demand economics for these live entertainment events.

On Monday, Bloomberg also reported on the forthcoming antitrust lawsuit that the DOJ is planning against Live Nation. They reported that the lawsuit could be filed as soon as May, and would ultimately seek to spin off Ticketmaster from Live Nation Entertainment as a way to appease concerns over anticompetitive operations.